Bapsi Nariman, an author who popularised Parsi cuisine among many in North India

A Judge is known by his judgements, a lawyer by the cases he has argued and the writer by the books he has written. In that sense Bapsi Nariman left her imprints by the books on culinary gastronomy which she penned. Bapsi was the author of books like Traditional Parsi Cuisine, Microwave Cookery for the Indian palate, Cooking with Yogurt, which were well received and also helped many learn cooking Parsi delicacies like Patra Ni Machchi, Chicken Farcha, Dhansak and Lagan Nu Custard.

After migrating from Mumbai and Poona to stay to Delhi, I remember making a phone call to Bugli Aunty at Parsi Anjuman every alternate week in the afternoon requesting to keep dinner ready, she had strict rules and one had to request her by 3 pm if one needed dinner. But at least it made sure I never missed my favourite Parsi cuisine. Unfortunately, around three years ago, she stopped running the canteen at Parsi Anjuman which now has been given to a professional restaurant to run. But one still misses the warmth of Bagli aunty personally asking whether one has eaten well and if one needs anything more. It was at Parsi Anjuman that I got to know Bapsi Nariman’s active participation in Parsi Anjuman’s activities and cook books written by her. Her daughter in law Dr. Sanaya Nariman is member of the board of Parsi Anjuman.

A few years ago, when my London based friend Sarosh Zaiwalla, founder of Zaiwalla & Co. came to Delhi, I coaxed him to come out of Hotel Taj Mansingh and join me for dinner at Soda Bottle Opener Wallah restaurant at Khan Market, we did a lot of talking over good Parsi food and he shared with me tales of Parsi Anjuman and his time in Bombay (now Mumbai).

On Thursday, when I messaged Sarosh that Bapsi had passed away, he wrote this message to me, “Thanks for informing me. This is a very sad news. I have had years of association with Fali and Bapsi. I have lost a true friend and a supporter. On my visits to Delhi, she used to invite me home for dinner. On my last visit to Delhi this year I spent some time with Fali and Bapsi and she gave me some homemade cake to take with me which I forgot to take. She was a noble soul. God Bless and progress her soul”

Bapsi Nariman migrated to Delhi when she was 41 years old, she had lived in Bombay (now Mumbai) till then. The daughter of a building contractor from Bombay, her first brush with culinary writing was as a young lady when she contributed recipes for the Time and Talents cookbook, published by the Time and Talents club at Fort in Bombay .

After her husband Fali Nariman was appointed as Additional Solicitor General (ASG), she migrated to Delhi. Her association with writing about culinary gastronomy continued and she edited the Delhi Commonwealth Association’s cookbook. Later, she ventured into catering and started a business of her own.

Bapsi Nariman, is survived by husband Fali Nariman, son Rohinton Nariman, daughter in law Sanaya Nariman. I have compiled a few photos of Bapsi Nariman and her family from her son Rohinton Nariman’s profile website and also of some of her cookbooks, hope you like it.

Tarun Nangia is the host, editor and producer of Legally Speaking

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